We recently received this question from a viewer:
Dear Dr. Manny,
Are breast self-exams really necessary if you get annual check-ups with your OB/GYN?
Yes, breast self-exams are important – even if you are getting an annual checkup.
There has been some controversy about this topic over the past few years – some research suggests that doing self-exams won’t necessarily increase your chances of survival if you do find cancer.
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Even though a self-exam may not be able to pick up microscopic cancer cells, it’s important to become familiar with your body. I encourage all of my patients to do self-exams.
Here are the changes you should be on the lookout for:
• Skin irritation or dimpling
• Red or scaly skin
• Nipple pain or retraction
• Lumps or swelling
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to report any changes to your doctor.